Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Back Pain

Sarfaroj Khan 

June 03, 2020


Why this matters

  • Findings warrant further studies to determine the pathophysiologic mechanisms of development of back pain in obese patients and its improvement after bariatric surgery.

Study design

  • 7 studies (n=246, mean age: 42.3 years, mean follow-up: 11.7 months) met eligibility criteria after a search across electronic databases.

  • Primary outcome: visual analogue score for back pain pre- and post-bariatric surgery.

  • Secondary outcomes: change in body mass index (BMI), Short-Form 36 (SF-36) scores for quality of life, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Bariatric surgery demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in visual analogue score for back pain (mean difference [MD], −3.01; 95% CI, −4.19 to −1.89; P<.001; I2=83%).

  • Bariatric surgery was associated with statistically significant improvements in:

    • BMI (MD, −12.23; 95% CI, −14.07 to −10.39; I2=55%;

    • SF-36 (MD, 26.46; 95% CI, 12.88 to 40.04; I2=91%); and

    • ODI (MD, −9.54; 95% CI, −15.41 to −3.67; I2=63%) scores.


  • Heterogeneity among studies.

  • Small sample size.

Stefanova I, Currie AC, Newton RC, Albon L, Slater G, Hawkins W, Pring C. A Meta-analysis of the Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Back Pain. Obes Surg. 2020 May 22 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s11695-020-04713-y. PMID: 32440778 View abstract 

This clinical summary first appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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